Los Autenticos Shapis

(Los Shapis posing with tall glasses of chicha, a traditional Peruvian alcohol which is made with corn that has been fermented after having been chewed up and spat out- it's an acquired taste.)

Upon release of their first single, 1981's "El Aguajal" ("The Swamp"), Los Shapis blew up to become one of Peru's most popular cumbia groups. Along the way, they supposedly also popularized the term "chicha", which was then coined to retroactively describe the brand of cumbia played by many Andean groups who had infused their cumbias with elements of Peruvian huayno, and 60's garage/rock.

This video for "El Aguajal" nicely encapsulates Los Shapis' celebratory vibe as juxtaposed within the plight of Peruvian reality- according to scarce internet sources, this clip actually comes from a Los Shapis full-length film of some sort.

Filled with many similarly warm-sounding chicha jams along the lines of "El Aguajal", the entirety of their first album, "Los Autenticos Shapis", is definitely worth searching out.

Despite my appreciation for Los Shapis, my true motivation for giving them a blog shout-out is said album's top-notch artwork, which absolutely floored me upon first discovering it, and always leaves me smiling whenever I think about-

Yes, this shameless Peruvian re-appropriation of the Ramones "Road to Ruin" LP is indeed the actual album artwork for the "Los Autenticos Shapis" LP!

If you're interested in checking out other similar chicha or Peruvian cumbia jams, La Cumbia De Mis Viejos is a great blog with tracks compiled by some Peruvian folks who aim to keep the sounds of old Peru alive, so you know it's legit- http://lacumbiademisviejos.blogspot.com/

While we're at it, another great blog to check out is Super Sonido - http://supersonido.net/
Super Sonido seems to be run by an American DJ who specializes specifically in older Latin American music which would remain mostly unheard of in the states if it weren't for his globetrotting to various locales in order to hunt down rare records. While it's updated pretty sporadically-if at all, anymore- its archive still holds a wealth of awesome jams.

Particularly worth checking out in relation to this post would be his post on Los Destellos, an amazing Peruvian cumbia band from Lima who somehow got lumped into being called a "chicha" band- http://supersonido.net/2009/06/28/los-destellos-enrique-delgado/

If you're interested in exploring the history of chicha music beyond
scarce internet sources and my half-assed overview, I remember reading a great chapter in this book which specifically details the cultural and socioeconomic history of chicha music within the context of Lima's history-

1 comment:

  1. About your picture, I don't think many people actually chew up and spit out Chicha anymore, but they might still do that with masato in the jungle. Some chicha is alchoholic, but at least in Peru a lot of it is just a corn water drink. But it's tasty. In the picture it looks like they're drinking quinua, not chicha, but I might be wrong.

    I was looking for a place to download this album, not much luck. That's funny about the Ramones.